Tyler ISD reacts to new state bus law, offers bus tracking app - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Tyler ISD reacts to new state bus law, offers bus tracking app

2018 model school bus equipped with over the shoulder seatbelts. (Source: KLTV News Staff) 2018 model school bus equipped with over the shoulder seatbelts. (Source: KLTV News Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Bus wrecks around the state have prompted a change in legislation to ensure all students are buckled up. This month, a new Texas law took effect that requires all newly manufactured buses be equipped with over-the-shoulder seatbelts.

John Bagert, Tyler ISD's transportation director, says the district recently purchased nine of them.

"It helps keep those students in the compartment,” says Bagert. “Which is a very safe compartment, the way it is designed."

The new belts aren't just there as an option, the law also requires that students wear them. 

"The driver is going to have to be responsible to make sure that the student is buckling their seatbelts much in the same way flight attendants have to make sure passengers on an airplane have their seatbelts buckled," says Bagert.

Districts struggling financially can opt out of the requirement, but only by holding a vote during a public meeting. The measure does not require that older buses be equipped with safety belts.

Bagert says that in addition to the new seatbelts, Tyler ISD is utilizing a new tracking app that provides additional safety before students even step foot on the bus.

“It will send text messages to the parents letting them know that the bus is approaching their stop,” says Bagert. “It just helps to give the parents a level of comfort, knowing that their children did get on the bus, that their children won't miss the bus, and that we deliver their children safely.”

While phasing out Tyler ISD buses without seatbelts will take a few years, the bus tracking app can be accessed by using a student ID number now.

Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved.  

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